Tags: Cutbacks | Crippling | Navy | Readiness

Cutbacks Crippling Navy Readiness

Friday, 03 November 2000 12:00 AM

That warning is contained in a copy of a recent internal Navy document obtained by the Washington Times.

The condition of American armed forces to defend the United States in event of war has become an issue in the presidential race.

Republican candidate George W. Bush accuses the administration of mismanaging the military, but Vice President Al Gore, his Democratic opponent, contends the military was never in better shape.

According to a report in the Friday issue of the Times based on that Navy warning memo:

• Mid-Atlantic regional command has alerted Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, that budget shortfalls and inadequate spare parts have dangerously lowered the ability of its 1,300 aircraft and their squadrons aboard carriers at sea or at naval air stations to face combat.

• A data cockpit display on the F-14, the Navy's front-line air-to-air fighter, breaks so often that, without adequate replacement parts, it has become one of the "highest readiness degraders throughout the F-14 community."

• In the past three months, the ability of E-2 radar planes to perform their missions fell 12 percent because the units lacked the money to buy enough parts to keep all those planes in flying condition.

• In the past year alone, costs of some key spare parts have increased around 50 percent – a propeller for the E-2 Hawkeye aircraft to $211,000 from $156,000, a helicopter blade to $49,000 from $30,000.

• Naval air bases at Oceana in Virginia Beach and at Norfolk were forced to make "drastic cutbacks in spending" because they began the current fiscal year, now only a month old, already $16 million in the hole for money to acquire crucial spare parts.

• Squadrons coming back Stateside off deployment "are swapping parts at unprecedented levels just to maintain status quo."

• When the carrier USS George Washington returns to home port, "many of the jets are expected to require extensive repairs and maintenance from six months of carrier operations."

The Times reports further that a recent inspector general's report said naval aviation has "big problems" primarily due to wear and tear on fighters and support aircraft.

It cites this comment by Vice Adm. John B. Nathman, a fighter pilot, who addressed the issue as he assumed command of Pacific naval air forces:

"To me, the fact is that we have reached such a low level of funding it will soon be impossible to meet the expectations of this nation in executing our operational tasks and completing the mission."

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That warning is contained in a copy of a recent internal Navy document obtained by the Washington Times. The condition of American armed forces to defend the United States in event of war has become an issue in the presidential race. Republican candidate George W. Bush...
Cutbacks,Crippling,Navy,Readiness
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2000-00-03
Friday, 03 November 2000 12:00 AM
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